Two of Sonya VanderVeen Feddema’s passions, children’s literature and refugee concerns, recently converged in the publishing of her book Monzi and Mama’s Stories. Written for 7- to 10-year-olds, the book is about refugee children.
VanderVeen Feddema, who has always appreciated children’s stories that involve social issues, joined with a number of others in 2004 to begin praying regularly for refugees.
In 2007 she went on a Refugee Learning Tour to Africa organized by the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, the CRC’s relief and development agency. There she visited refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya.
“It was my hope and prayer that I could write a picture book for kids,” said VanderVeen Feddema. But when she returned to Canada she felt she needed to delve still more deeply into the lives of refugee children. She connected with Ugandan aid worker Mary Amolo, whom she had met in a refugee camp, and enlisted Amolo’s help in collecting the stories of refugee children.
Using the children’s accounts and what she herself had seen in the camps, VanderVeen Feddema wrote Monzi and Mama’s Stories. Kenyan-based Phoenix Publishers (www.phoenixpublishers.co.ke) published the book. Royalties from the book will be donated to the refugee sponsorship program of CRWRC Canada.
VanderVeen Feddema is a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.